Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Friday, June 30, 2017

Competitiveness of the Michigan State House

This was a lot of data entry and I appologize in advance for any transcription errors or errors in general. Also when I say competitiveness I generally mean how close the 2016 races were. I basically tried to find the differences between the Democrat and Republican vote percentages (not counting third party and write ins)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Go Go Science-Fantasy Powers Activate

Gentleman Broncos is a pretty terrible movie. Largely because it's trying to be weird and alienating. And it dismisses the one thing that might have redeemed it. Gentleman Broncos embraces weird ass goofy science fiction. It does it ironically but it does it.

Gentleman Broncos is an ironic love letter to goofy ass out there science-fantasy. and I love goofy ass out there science-fantasy.

For decades we've been trying to smooth the transition between what's been in writers' and artists' minds and we're finally getting somewhere close.  It's possible on a nearly practical level to make a direct adaptation of what was written or drawn.

But it's also lead to this impetus to run away from stuff. To run away from the more fantastical elements of science fiction under the assumption that that stuff didn't work right at the time we can do it but right.   And it's like totally bumin' me out man. 

I can understand a preference for hard science-fiction. Sometimes I'm right there with everybody else. But science-fantasy shouldn't disappear.

The reason why it often didn't work is as I said because filmmakers often didn't have an easy and monetarily efficient way to translate the visuals of comics and the writing of paperback novels to the screen.

That's not really the case anymore. We should be going nuts, absolutely insane. Bonkers.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Online Groceries Are Not New, Nor Is Amazon Making Acquisitions

Anytime Amazon does anything involving food I end up having to read a slew of think pieces about how, "they are thinking about getting into grocery business" and I'm just about sick of it.

The truth is that Amazon has been trying to get into groceries for nearly 20 years. Groceries are one of the few goods that are really hard to sell online, for obvious reasons.

And since before there even was an online everybody knew the person to figure that out would be rich.

And right now there are lots of people trying.

The egg everybody is trying to crack is how do you deliver perishables cheaply and quickly and again it's not like Amazon has been sitting on its hands.

Everybody knows that the go-to solution to food transportation has been to use existing grocery infrastructure to shorten transit times so why are we treating the fact that Amazon bought a grocer as a surprise.

It's kind of what they do. Everybody knows that's how Google makes money but Amazon survived the dot-com bubble by basically buying everything that wasn't nailed to the floor and trying to figure out something to do with it. There is a reason why they named their A.I. Alexa.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

We've Commoditized Freedom

I don't think people understand me. Normally whining about "waaa nobody gets me" is exactly the type of thing that makes me want to kick my own ass. But it's starting to occur to me that I have a fundamentally different worldview than the people around me and that's worth exploring. So here goes.

The greatest frustration of my life is that there are all these things I want to do. That I have detailed plans to do. That I can't. I'm patient and have hope that I'll get to them eventually so I try not to be bitter about it but that doesn't mean it doesn't bother me.

I spend almost every second of every hour of everyday thinking about WHY. Why can't things just be as simple as "DO THE THING!"

The simple truth is that everything takes resources. Time, money, manpower, knowlege. It all takes something and the way the universe works resources are finite. Even if I had the resources to do what I want, which I almost never do I would have to consider other places those resources could go. And as a prince or a pauper that will always be the case.

I'm sorry but the hippies were wrong. Money does rule the world. I wish it didn't. I want to act is though it doesn't.  I find the idea of putting profit over people repugnant but and have struggled for my life to square the importance of the two.

Power, Authority, and Leverage

What will also always be the case is that I will never have the resources to do the sorts of things I want to do on my own. Everything whether I like it or not is going to come down to asking the permission of some gatekeeper, somebody who has the resources or at least the authority to use the resources.

Hell, that's what a job is. You ask somebody for permission to do a thing.

It's the way the world works. I dream of the day I can tell everybody screw you this is my call, I'm the boss, but honestly that gets tied up in who has the money. And as my capacity and ambition rise so does the need for more and more resources to the point that I'm never not going to be beholden to some economic stakeholder. I'm not exactly okay with that but again it's how the world works.

Still my dream is carte blanche. The day when I'm the guy with the keys to the money bin and can make the calls about what gets done and what don't and how.

That will be an interesting day.

Anyway until then I'm stuck in a world where for nearly everything I have to ask permission.


I am bristling even if I don't look like it.  (Dear god I wish Adam's speech was on Youtube.)
 I know what you feel... you feel smothered, trapped like an animal pure in its ferocity unable to actualize the urges within, clinging to one truth like flame struggling to burn within an enclosed glass, that a beast this powerful can not be contained. Inevitably it will break free and savage the land again.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 4 Episode 20 The Yoko Factor

Evil Tony Robbins indeed. I chose the nickname Wolf for a reason. I will break from my bonds and devour the world with the insatiable hunger I already feel in my bowels.

And I wonder why people are afraid of me?


As stated the thing that pisses me off is that is that my life isn't as simple as here is what I want to do. Here is what I'm going to do. And within reason, I think life should be that simple. Life is not that simple.

My greatest desire is merely the ability to express my will and act in my own interest without fear.

My greatest desire is freedom.

And from that point, it's only a hop, jump and a skip to not just wanting freedom for myself but for everybody.

EVERYBODY should be able to do that.

Wealth to me represents the capacity to act. Those with money can act and those without it can not. That is the way of the world and I must accept it but it still seems perverse especially when those with said capacity are so reluctant to relinquish it to others.

In a sick way, we've commoditized freedom.

Wealth is a form of power that can be leveraged to make people act against their will. I hate power imbalances that get people to act against their own will for reasons.

That's what equality is to me. The condition of no one being able to unduly compel or coerce anybody else against their will.  (So that's why I've been so obsessed with Camelot lately with the strong defending and guaranteeing the rights of weak, and all that jazz lately huh who knew.)

Miles. Fine vague broad humanistic ideals.

But back to my point. We've commoditized freedom, the capacity to act in one's own self-interest. I don't know how we fix it or how we even broke it or even if that is the way the world always worked, but it's wrong.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

So You're Out of a Classroom and Want to Know Some Stuff

I'm bored. And after spending far too long angsting over the fact that I can't do exactly what I want I decided my best substitute is to crack the books. I am ashamed of just how much I've forgotten over the years and want get to work re-stuffing my head.

To some, the obvious answer to this predicament would be to go back to school but for a lot of reasons I don't want to do that. Money would get involved and when there is money especially the type of money it takes to go back to school, gets involved things get complicated, at least more complicated than just wanting to expand my toolbox and know things for the sake of it.

So here is my list of resources available to people for absolutely free. While there are some cheap classes you can take on the weekend and those are valuable that is not this list.

But before I get started allow me to play devil's advocate against myself. A classroom setting does have many benefits. The structure of the syllabus can help keep you on task and force you to confront material against your biases. A good teacher won't just let your word that you don't need to know that or that you already know this stand, at least without evidence. Self-evaluation of skills is much harder because it's human nature to assume you know even if you do not. Furthermore, the syllabus provides a good outline for the material to be absorbed over a time period.   And lastly, the communal nature of a classroom which in and of itself is an asset allows for safety and equipment that is often hard to use on your own.

I'm mostly making this list for myself but I also suppose it could serve as supplemental material to anybody who is in a class and wants some supplemental material if you're hitting a conceptual block.

The Local Library

I prefer to own books but it's also a long time I admitted that I'm not going to have the scratch to update my own private library for a while so I might as well get back in the habit of utilizing public ones. While not every public library allows you to check out books for free, mine does so I might as well use it.

Also while there is a user fee for suburbanites the Detroit Public Library main branch is amazing. I haven't been in a while but dear god I loved that building as a kid and they don't charge a cover fee for entrance.

Seriously that building is one of the best looking ones in the city and even as a kid I knew it.

Anyway, one of the barriers to learning new skills is that I don't have the money for reference books but a lot of those may be found at the library. And the same goes for technical programs I might not have the money for to install on a home computer. Nobody is going to take me seriously when (I'm 4 versions behind on EVERYTHING and it bugs me that I can't fix that.)

Also, textbooks are expensive but libraries tend to have them. They might not be the latest version but it's better than nothing.

Free Online Libraries
There is a lot of stuff in the public domain.


Yeah I love PBS. Everybody kind of knows that if you want your kids not to be idiots they'll help but you'd be surprised at the amount of non-fiction content for adults. A lot of this is geared towards current affairs, but you'd be surprised at how many hobbyist and adult education shows are on PBS.
Seriously PBS is one of the premier spots to look for documentaries. If Ken Burns farts PBS gets it first.  If you're of a mind to learn PBS isn't a bad place to start.

It's not on every set top box but Roku has a PBS app that archives a lot of PBS stuff for free. Some days I just keep it playing in the background when I'm not in the mood for something else.  Even then a lot of this stuff isn't hard to find. Amazon and Hulu have licesenced a lot of this stuff.

Here is my short list of programs

PBS has gone digital. And has a lot of programming on YouTube such as,
But Youtube, in general, is a godsend for anybody who wants to learn. Here are a few of my other favorite education channels.
Film YouTube
I remember once watching a Punk documentary where one of the interviewees once lamented that if you care about something you're going to try to get good at it and getting technically better at playing music was weird for punk. 

Internet film got better at film and so now there is this whole space of Youtube talking about movies beyond the normal fanboy wanking (that admittedly I love) And it is kind of amazing.  Especially when those Youtubers use film to have broader discussions about culture, philosophy, and ideology. Here are some of my favorites at least in that regard.
Do the Thing Youtube

Dear god there are a million tutorials on youtube. And for the sake of completion here is my list of practical here is how you do the thing youtube channels. 

Legacy Media
While PBS is the most obvious a lot of non-fiction media has had to make the jump to the internet. And so the usual suspects often have educational resources online. More over a lot of newspapers and print magazines are starting to do web documentaries. 

And the same goes for old hobbyist magazines. I've tried to avoid the usual suspects thus far but if you can name them chances are they have a decent youtube channel.
(Sometime while writing this I got really hungry evidently.)

Open Courseware
Several universities post lectures, and many more post resources for their own students. Even if there isn't a lecture most many colleges post things like
  • The Syllabus
  • Previous Exams
  • Homework and Exercises
  • Supplemental Reading Material
  • Lecture Notes
  • Advice on How to Approach Material
If there is a particular university you are interested in, see what they offer and how much is available for free online. I'm not talking about online course necessarily but how much of the material they release to online.  

Kahn Academy

While Kahn Academy has videoes on almost every subject thier real gem is thier World of Math Program which has broken down and has both tutorials, and excersises for roughly 1200 skills between counting and calculus 2 and offers learners instant feedback as well as the ablity to relearn old skills in a way classrooms just can't.

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